Sean is everything he wasn't when in the madness of addiction, now that he is sober
Hi my name is Sean and I am grateful recovering alcoholic, I am also powerless over any mind altering substance.
When I share I tend to share with the format of experience , strength and hope .
My experience / I am 27 years old , the eldest of two sons , parents happily married 34 years. On paper it would look like I had a perfect up bringing but it wasn't , nothing that my family done wrong but I just believe now and what I learnt in rehab I was just wired up wrong. I had everything I could ever wish for growing up as a child my parents always wanted to give me and my brother everything they didn't have as a child, which is nice but I don't believe it did me good in some ways because I always wanted more and more. I always wanted what my mates had and if I didn't get it I would moan and moan until I got it. My early years were great my mum went to work to bring home the money and my dad was a stay at home dad after a tragic accident involving him breaking his back so meant he looked after me. So I was very much a daddy's boy. 5 years later my younger brother was born and it meant all the attention wasn't on me and I resented the idea and I remember to this day being at school and it was a show and tell Day and I was wearing a badge saying I have a baby brother and I hated the fact I was wearing it.
Later years of primary school I was heavily bullied for wearing glasses and being different to everyone else. This effected me badly because I hated that I was different and I didn't have the confidence to speak out or fight back.
Secondary school was very much the same . I went to school the same year the first Harry Potter film was released and I happened to look a lot like Daniel Radcliffe growing up and wearing glasses. Another school another spell of bullying "hearing your a wizard harry" day in day out . By boys and girls . It went as far as having my glasses taken off my face and thrown down the corridor.
I couldn't wait to leave school as soon as I had the chance because of everything I had experienced. I had a ok social group but I was the one who was always teased and because I allowed them to do it they just carried on and got away with it. Out of school this social group likes to get up to no good and cause criminal damage to things , set fires etc. I believe now this was the start of my wrong behaviours leading up to my issues because I got such a buzz from it all.
I left school and went to college studying public services with the dream of being in the Royal Marines . College life was great no bullying etc so I really felt like life was on the up. When entering the Royal Marines and doing my training . 8 weeks into training I was discharged for having asthma after a misdiagnosis by the doctor for simply having a chest infection so this led to my dream being shattered and entering a deep depression. It meant I started applying for endless jobs because I just wanted to be like all my social group working and independent.
Fast forwarding a little . I was In a relationship with a girl who I fell madly in love and I was working as a barman in a local pub. One long weekend myself and my father went over to Ireland where my family are from to see my grandparents. My nan who I loved so much could see I was happy and asked about my girlfriend and asked when was I bringing her to meet her. 7 weeks later we received a phone call to say my nan was dead after committing suicide after losing her husband to sudden death. She could not see life without him and wanted to be with him. I was devastated as I was my nans first grandson and we had a really close relationship. No note was left but we could only believe she wanted to be with my granddad and god. 2 weeks later my girlfriend dumped me as I was so depressed it was effecting the relationship.
Few years later on I was working in the hotel trade after taking any job I could and life was going well but I still had not grieved for my nan and other tragic things were happening in my family . Father having a mental breakdown after the loss of his mother and I too suffering with depression I started to self medicate with alcohol. My drinking started to creep up and the amount as well soon becoming a problem because I could not cope with life unless I was drunk. Soon I was a 24/7 drinker.
Strength / I went to see my local drug and advisory team within my area to say I think I have a problem with alcohol. I was assigned a key worker who had studied addiction but never been in the thick of it. He suggested keeping a drinks diary , counting bottle tops having a couple days off etc.
I tried all this and I could not do it. I went to my first AA meeting and was told listen for the similarities and not the difference. I did the opposite as I had not lost everything yet. And they talked a lot about god but because I had fallen out with after taking my nan from me I decided AA wasn't for me. And I would handle it all on my own. My drinking got worse and worse. Losing my job after job , my license went and my car. My family had enough and asked me to leave. I was now homeless , sleeping rough in doorways and going to the local Salvation Army for food etc and mixing with all the wrong people. It got so bad I didn't care if I was alive anymore and I attempted suicide but I wasn't even good at that as I was still alive. Several times trying to stop drinking I had several seizures and strokes from not having alcohol in my system. I would also be hanging around with the wrong people and putting myself in vulnerable places. There was one time when I stayed at this random place after meeting a guy at a soup and he offered me a sofa to sleep on for the night and me being so desperate to get off the street for a night I said yes and we continued to drink back at this guys house . Soon I entered blackout and only to wake up from blackout to realize I had been raped and my trousers etc were down my ankles. I went to the police etc and explained what had happened but because it was my word against his. Nothing was done of it.
I went back to the local drug and alcohol team and said I need rehab as I can't continue how I'm living my life because I just want to die on a daily basis and within a few weeks I was on my way to rehab to embark on my new life.
Hope/ I did 6 months in rehab where we did a lot of group work and I told myself I'm only going to get one shot at this and I have to be honest about everything including my abuse. So I did and it was the best thing I ever did . It meant I was offered counseling to deal with the trauma and to learn that it wasn't my fault and I was just in a very vulnerable place in my life.
Every day we were taught to do a gratitude list and values list, starting with " just for today I'm grateful to be clean and sober " because the things I listed after would not be possible if I don't have my recovery. The values side allowed me to identify on a daily basis the things I liked about myself and also the things I hated so I build a relationship with myself and learn to love myself.
Treatment was full of highs and many lows but it saved my life. I believe now that I have got another drink in me but I have not got another recovery In me. I truly believe in "just for today " now and I live purely in the day so much I had the words tattoo on my chest so when I look in the mirror in the morning I can see it and remind myself I only have to stay clean and sober for today. Because yesterday is history and tomorrow is mystery.
After completing treatment I went on to continue my journey of recovery and was offered a job at the rehab where I went . As a peer support role. I welcome the opportunity because it allows me to carry the message to the still suffering addict or alcoholic plus it gives me reasons to keep sober on a daily basis.
I am also currently studying to be a personal trainer because my goal is be a pt and still be working for my rehab but be able to offer a recovery boot camp for newly clean and sober people to find the feel good factor and see that even a little bit of exercise and eating healthy can bring a smile to your face and make you feel good about yourself. I know this for a fact because when I got sober I was heavily over weight and hated looking at myself in the mirror, even tho I was clean and sober I still felt so depressed at how I looked.
I have gone on a bit but I only have one story and I try to fit as much in as possible so maybe the newcomer or someone who is struggling can see a bit of hope there.
I regularly attend all fellowships and have completed the steps with my sponsor and have a relationship with a higher power or God, which ever you want to call it, but I class it as my higher power who I pray to every morning and every evening asking him to guide me through the day sober and thank him when I get to bed that night for a sober day. I also still do my daily gratitude lists and values because I strongly believe in attitude for gratitude because without my recovery o wouldn't have anything in life.
Today I am a recovering alcoholic/ addict but also my recovery has allowed me to be son, brother, nephew, grandson...all the things I wasn't when I was in the madness of addiction.
I can't do this on my own but we can, being around like minded people on a daily basis gives me the strength every day.
Thank you for allowing me to share my experience strength and hope.